• Saurabh Saxena

Chandrayaan 2 🚀



There were billions of hopes and whole world went to a standstill for some 15-20 minutes on 7 September, 2019. It was live for everyone to see the history been written. India was about to become the fourth country to get its lander land on moon, and that too possibly in first attempt. But just around 2.1 km away, we lost contact with the Vikram lander. 2.1 km is like less than a human step compared to the distance Chandrayaan 2 has successfully travelled in space. Last moment thrills like never before. Though it stopped contact just before landing, it is still 95% success of the project because the Orbiter is still there orbiting around the moon and capturing information, communicating to Indian Deep Space Network.

Goal of the Mission



The Moon’s south polar region is the place at moon where Chandrayaan 2 was supposed to make soft landing. This is the region where no country has landed before. The reason why , it is landed on South Pole because this region remains in darkness for a longer time than other regions of the moon, it is highly likely to find more water there. Also it is expected to have more information about the life in past at moon and fossil record of the early solar system. It can also help in understanding the moon’s environment.




Let’s know about it’s parts:

Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mark-III (GSLV Mk-III)


The GSLV MK-III was chosen to carry Chandrayaan 2 to its designated orbit. This three-stage vehicle is India's most powerful launcher to date, and is capable of launching 4-ton class of satellites to the Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO).

Its components are:

  • S200 solid rocket boosters

  • L110 liquid stage

  • C25 upper stage












Orbiter

The Chandrayaan 2 orbiter which was sent to be on moon's orbit, is a box-shaped device with an orbital mass of 2379 kg and solar arrays capable of generating 1000 W power.

The Orbiter has been successfully placed in lunar's orbit and it is observing the lunar surface. The other job for Orbiter was to relay communication between Earth and Vikram. The orbiter has a scientific payload:

  • Visible terrain mapping camera,

  • Neutral mass spectrometer,

  • Synthetic aperture radar,

  • Near infrared spectrometer,

  • Radio occultation experiment,

  • Soft X-ray spectrometer

  • Solar X-ray monitor.



Vikram

After the orbiter is placed into orbit, next step was to make a very slow walking pace landing of Vikram on the moon. The lander, named Vikram, had a mass of 1471 kg (including the rover), and could generate 650 W of solar power.


The lander was made to communicate directly to the Indian Deep Space Network, the orbiter, and the rover. The lander carried many sensors to observe moons surface like a camera, seismometer, thermal profiler, Langmuir probe, and a NASA-supplied laser retroreflector.



Pragyan


The plan was the Pragyan which is a 6-wheeled robotic vehicle, which was inside the Vikram, will come out of the Vikram after soft landing and roam around the surface of moon at a distance of max 500 m from the Vikram. So that whatever info it collects it sends to Vikram and Vikram to send the data to the Earth.

The rover, Pragyan (also Pragyaan), was the lightest with a mass of 27 kg that runs on 50 W of solar power and can travel up to 500 m at a speed of 1 cm per second. The rover communicates directly with the lander. the rover will hold cameras, alpha-proton X-ray spectrometer, and a laser-induced ablation spectroscopy experiment.

Major Events of the Mission


22 July 2019 : Chandrayaan 2 was launched at 9:13 UT (2:43 p.m. Indian Standard Time) from Satish Dhawan Space Center on Sriharikota Island on an GSLV Mark III.


14 August 2019 : The lander-orbiter pair went into an initial elliptical (170 x 40400 km altitude) Earth parking orbit, followed by a trans-lunar injection.


20 August 2019 : The pair entered lunar polar orbit.


2 September 2019 : The lander and orbiter separated. The orbiter evolves into a 100 km altitude circular polar orbit and the Vikram lander maneuvered into a 30 x 100 km orbit with a plan to land on the surface in the high latitude areas near the south pole, between two craters, Manzinus C and Simpelius N.


7 September 2019: between about 1:30 and 2:30 a.m. Indian local time (Sept. 6, 20:00-21:00 UT). Contact was lost during the descent at an altitude of about 2.1 km, the data are being analyzed.


As per the info given by ISRO, the orbiter mission is planned for one year, but it has fuel to last upto 7 years. Vikram has hard landed as per images taken by orbiter. The rover was to be deployed using a ramp shortly after landing. It is not sure rover came out or not since no communication could be established. Since, lander and rover mission was planned only for 14-15 days, 21 september, would be last day to try for establishing communication with the lander.


Let's hope for the best and cheers for the huge success of ISRO.